Residents in St. James are in for an exciting, educational, and memorable experience this Independence, as the parish rolls out its slate of activities for Jamaica 50.
"We, in St. James, feel that we have much to celebrate this Independence and celebrate we will. Despite all the challenges, we are fit and ready to roll,” said Chairman of the St. James 'Jamaica 50' planning committee, Councillor Suzette Brown.
Addressing a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) Montego Bay Regional Office on Tuesday (July 17), Ms. Brown informed that a number of activities have been held in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) since the start of the month, and these will culminate on Independence Day, August 6.
Events already held include the St. James Festival Queen competition and the JCDC evening of excellence, which Ms. Brown said were successfully staged and were befitting of the celebrations.
She said that there are a lot more events to come, including a symposium on July 23 entitled: ‘Looking at Montego Bay 50 years and beyond’ at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in Sam Sharpe Square, followed by the opening of an exhibition on the city “where we will take persons on a journey, showing them from whence we came and where we intend to go."
Other activities include an ecumenical thanksgiving service at the St. James Parish Church on July 29; a vigil on July 31 at Tulloch Castle in Kensington, where the Sam Sharpe Christmas rebellion started; a festival Jamboree in Sam Sharpe Square on August 1; and a “Jamaica nice” concert at Whitter Village, Ironshore on August 2.
Dump Up Beach will be the site of an Independence Village from August 3 to 5, and a flag raising and civic ceremony will be held at Sam Sharpe Square on August 6.
The highlight of the civic ceremony this year will be the presentation of the ‘Spirit of Independence Award’ by the St. James Parish Council to several outstanding persons in the parish for contribution in various fields. Nomination for the award is now open and will close on July 20.
Councillor Brown is appealing to residents to take part in the activities, which will be free of cost. “You really will have to come out in order to experience it. I can paint a lovely picture, but until you show up, you really won’t know, so we encourage persons in St. James to support the activities,” she urged.
Field Services Director with the JCDC, Marjorie Leyden-Vernon, is also encouraging Jamaicans to participate in the Jamaica 50 activities across the island, noting that the occasion will be historic and memorable.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter